The latest episode in a centuries-old land dispute between the people of the Chimalapas region in Oaxaca and Chiapas concluded this week with the peaceful eviction of so-called “invaders.”
A group of people from Chiapas had set up a basic village of 20 wooden dwellings and a larger building in which they had meals on a piece of land known as La Reforma, part of the community-owned lands of San Francisco La Paz, in the Oaxaca municipality of Santa María Chimalapa.
Their alleged intention was to build housing in the area.
Santa María Mayor Víctor Zárate Lorenzo stated he had been requesting the help of state and federal police in removing the settlement for over a year. On Sunday night they arrived in force.
Early Monday morning, a 1,500-strong deployment of federal and state police — the latter from both Chiapas and Oaxaca — and agents of the federal Public Prosecutor’s office entered the disputed area accompanied by residents of San Francisco.
But the Chiapas invaders opted to leave their new dwellings rather than face the security forces and only some barnyard fowl remained when police arrived.
The people of San Francisco burned the wooden structures to the ground.
Oaxaca Public Security Secretary Capt. José Raymundo Tuñón Jáuregui told the newspaper Milenio that the Chimalapas rainforest is considered a federal reserve and that anyone found cutting trees would be prosecuted.
While the operation did not arrest any of the alleged invaders, police did encounter a man armed with a shotgun and leading a couple of undocumented migrants from Guatemala, presumably heading for Veracruz. He was taken into custody.
Source: Milenio (sp)